Novozymes pioneers food–energy venture in Africa
New York, New York, USA
September 21, 2011
Novozymes and environmental venture group CleanStar Ventures are to jointly establish an integrated food–energy business in Mozambique that will replace thousands of charcoal-burning cookstoves with cleaner ethanol stoves. In addition to safeguarding lives from dangerous charcoal smoke, the business is intended to increase farmers’ incomes by up to 500%, save thousands of acres of forest every year, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in advanced discussions to join the venture.
Today, Novozymes announced its investment in CleanStar Mozambique at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. CleanStar Mozambique, a company founded by Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures, will work with smallholder farmers to implement sustainable farming practices, create a food and ethanol cooking fuel production facility, and lay the groundwork for economically and ecologically sustainable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The business will address a range of problems, including land degradation, poor health, and energy poverty.
“Agriculture in the developing world holds an enormous potential that can be realized with the assistance of biotechnology,” says Novozymes Executive Vice President Thomas Nagy. “Through this partnership, local communities in Africa will be able to produce more food and energy while at the same time improving their health, restoring forests, cleaning the air, and growing the economy.”
Cut charcoal smoke and deforestation
Under CleanStar Mozambique’s innovative business model, thousands of farmers in Mozambique will have the opportunity to transition from charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture to cultivating a diverse range of crops and trees, which will significantly improve their income and nutrition levels while rehabilitating degraded soils and enhancing biodiversity. Whatever the families do not consume themselves, they will sell to CleanStar Mozambique. The company will produce a range of food products as well as an ethanol-based cooking fuel made from cassava, which will be sold into urban markets.
Throughout Africa, more than 80% of urban families buy charcoal to cook their food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) there is evidence to suggest that indoor air pollution from solid fuel use – including charcoal – may be damaging to a person’s health. Charcoal usage is also a major driver in the mass deforestation across Africa, where every year hundreds of millions of trees are cleared to produce charcoal. It is intended that by 2014, CleanStar Mozambique will supply 20% of local households in Mozambique’s capital Maputo with a clean and competitive alternative to charcoal, which is intended to improve family health and protect 9,000 acres of indigenous forest per year.
“This business model can be replicated and scaled throughout the developing world,” says Thomas Nagy. “With CleanStar Mozambique, we hope to show how biotechnology can catalyze the development of agriculture, food, and ethanol industries in developing countries, and create new bio-based markets that benefit local communities and the environment.”
CleanStar Ventures and Novozymes have partnered with a number of other companies in the business. Most notably, the process design and construction company ICM, Inc. is providing the food and ethanol cooking fuel production facility. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in advanced discussions with Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures about serving as Carbon Finance Associate in order to help maximize the monetary value of the project's carbon emission reductions.
FAO: Integrated food and energy systems reduce poverty
Since President Bill Clinton established CGI in 2005, the organization has convened global leaders in government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Each CGI member makes a commitment – a concrete proposal to address a major global challenge – and collaborates with other members to translate that plan into meaningful, measurable results. This is Novozymes’ first CGI commitment.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), producing food and energy side-by-side may offer one of the best formulas for boosting countries' food and energy security while simultaneously reducing poverty.
Read more at www.cleanstarmozambique.com.
Novozymes is the world leader in bioinnovation. Together with customers across a broad array of industries, we create tomorrow’s industrial biosolutions, improving our customers' business and the use of our planet's resources.
With over 700 products used in 130 countries, Novozymes’ bioinnovations improve industrial performance and safeguard the world’s resources by offering superior and sustainable solutions for tomorrow’s ever-changing marketplace. Read more at www.novozymes.com.
About CleanStar Ventures
CleanStar Ventures is a venture development partnership that leverages innovation to drive social development and environmental restoration. CleanStar Ventures combines risk capital, technology, and expertise to create sustainable long-term value for the customers, partners, and shareholders in its ventures. Read more at www.cleanstarventures.com
About ICM, Inc.
Established in 1995 and headquartered in Colwich, Kansas, ICM, Inc. provides innovative technologies, solutions, and services to sustain agriculture and advance renewable energy, including food and feed technologies that will increase the supply of world protein. By providing proprietary process technology to 102 facilities with a combined production capacity of approximately 6.7 billion gallons of annual ethanol production, ICM has become a world leader in biorefining technology. The full-service provider also offers a comprehensive line of more than 100 products and services tailored to make biofuels production more efficient and more profitable. ICM is further upholding its responsibility as an industry leader by heavily investing in the continued advancement of renewable energy technologies. In an effort to speed that advance, ICM has been conducting research and testing at its two state-of-the-art research facilities in Colwich, KS, and St. Joseph, MO, in conjunction with a growing list of strategic partners spanning multiple industries. For more information, please visit www.icminc.com.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of USD 63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20–22 in New York City.
This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.
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Published: September 21, 2011